The University of Miami might consider building a new trophy case for the men’s basketball office. On Tuesday, coach Jim Larranaga won the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award, presented to the national coach of the year as voted by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Larranaga also was named Coach of the Year by his fellow coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The fifth-ranked Hurricanes swept the coaches’ postseason awards, which were announced Tuesday. Sophomore point guard Shane Larkin was voted ACC Player of the Year and senior guard Durand Scott was named ACC Defender of the Year.
In his second season at UM, Larranaga, 63, led the Hurricanes to a 27-6 record, including the school’s first ACC regular-season and tournament titles. Their historic season included a 13-0 start in conference play. The Canes enter the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed in the East Region and play their opener Friday at 2:10 p.m. in Austin against Pacific.
“Coach is not only the best coach in my eyes but one of the best people I’ve ever met,” Scott said. “His arrival to [UM] has been life-changing to the entire community.”
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USBWA president John Akers of Basketball Times said, “Jim Larranaga’s story should inspire us all. He gave hope to hundreds of so-called ‘mid-major’ schools by leading George Mason to the Final Four in 2006. Then, in just two seasons at Miami, he convinced a bunch of players who had known mostly disappointment to buy in for what has been a dream season.”
Larkin won Most Valuable Player in the ACC tournament last weekend. He leads the Hurricanes in scoring at 14.6 points per game while ranking fourth in the ACC in assists (4.4 per game) and second in steals (2.0). Scott, who usually guards the opponent’s top scorer, was named Defender of the Year by the ACC media. He also was an offensive weapon, scoring 32 points vs. North Carolina State in the ACC semifinals.